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Friday, December 30, 2016

The Saga of the $5 Nescafé

Dear Iberia Airlines:

That was a neat little trick you pulled off on my recent flight. I mean pull around the coffee, tea, and juice service cart and ask politely if I want an ice cold Coca-Cola or perhaps a zumo de manzana so fresh I'd feel like I picked it myself and ran it through my Jack LaLanne juicer.

Instead I sifted through the dozen or so offerings and opted for Nescafé espresso with milk. "Espresso" I thought....what a nice treat on my quick international commuter flight. Ah to be on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées nursing my espresso at a sidewalk cafe as tourists from around the globe carrying their fancy Louis Vuitton and Givenchy shopping bags paraded in front of me to their next stops in their retail debauchery sojourns.

Yes, Iberia, you had me at "Nescafé" as I mentally locked arms with George Clooney and Penelope Cruz preparing to sip the smooth java gold that only this instant brand can deliver.

Then, Iberia, you cut me down to earth in second. As if being sliced effortlessly by a matador's sabre in Madrid's legendary bull ring you struck! After serving my espresso, the bad news was delivered: "Five Euros, please..." Imagine my look of astonishment as I fished out my Euro coins, scrambling to find the right combination to equal the magic number that had wrestled me from my daydream with those beautiful Oscar winners.

I mean, really, Iberia?

Charging for drinks without alcohol?

This is a new twist on squeezing revenue out of your passengers. At least announce it in Spanish over the intercom so it gives the illusion there was fair warning. What was I supposed to do after it was served? Refuse to pay? What kind of entitled American traveler would attempt that? (Probably a lot, but not me...) I paid while the empathetic flight attendant embraced me in a way only a mature, seasoned air hostess could while reaching into your wallet for five Euros.

At the end of it, I sipped on those four ounces of heaven and toasted to George and Penelope. I'd like to think no they toasted back.